The Arizona 911 Program (AZ911) — which resides within the Arizona Department of Administration — oversees fifteen 911 systems that serve 81 emergency communications centers (ECCs, also known as public safety answering points, or PSAPs). The department’s overarching goal is to interconnect all of the ECCs to achieve increased data sharing between the centers, enhance situational awareness within each center and between them, and improve multijurisdictional emergency response.
However, AZ911 first needed to understand where each 911 system in the state stands regarding the readiness of geographic information system (GIS) data for use in the NG911 environment. MCP helped the department reach this understanding by assessing each 911 system and its GIS data using the firm’s proprietary Model for Advancing Public Safety® (MAPS®) methodology.
AZ911 needed to understand the readiness of its GIS-generated data, which is the first step toward making the adjustments necessary to make the data Next Generation 911 (NG911) compliant
Mission Critical Partners (MCP) helped the agency reach this understanding by assessing each 911 system in Arizona using the firm’s proprietary Model for Advancing Public Safety (MAPS) methodology
AZ911 today has a better understanding of what is required of GIS in an NG911 environment, as well as the workflows needed to move address data into GIS and ultimately into computer-aided dispatch (CAD) systems
To interconnect the state’s 15 ECCs and to prepare for the NG911 environment, AZ911 first needed to understand where each 911 system stands regarding GIS data readiness for NG911. MCP helped the agency reach this understanding by assessing each 911 system using the firm’s proprietary MAPS methodology. MAPS measures key elements of a public-safety agency’s environment against a range of success factors based on MCP’s expertise, formalized accreditation programs, industry standards, and best practices. The methodology determines whether each element is high, medium, or low.
The readiness of each 911 system’s GIS data for application in an NG911 environment arguably is the most important factor being assessed. In addition to the mandated 98 percent match rate between the automatic location identification (ALI)/master street address guide (MSAG) and GIS databases, the National Emergency Number Association (NENA), determined that NG911 requires the improvement and maintenance of GIS road centerlines and address points, as well as an ECC’s PSAP boundaries, emergency service boundaries (ESB), and provisioning boundaries.
MAPS places a strong emphasis on identifying strengths that can be leveraged and weaknesses that need resolution. Each assessment provides a report card that enables clients to learn where they stand concerning each element that was assessed and holistically. A vital aspect of each assessment is the creation of a diagram that summarizes the findings in a manner that makes them easily digestible. In a way, this diagram provides them with a visual executive summary and roadmap.
According to Eric Shreve, AZ911’s GIS manager, the assessments and resulting reports, particularly the statewide report, have been invaluable.
The success of the GIS assessment project using the MAPS® methodology has led AZ911 to engage further MCP regarding the standardization of CAD systems used by the state’s 911 systems and ECCs, as well as its cybersecurity and connectivity needs to support the NG911 environment.
“The assessments validated our strengths, but more importantly, they identified areas of deficiency,” Shreve says. “We weren’t shocked by anything we learned, but we were surprised by how deficient we are in some areas. Before we move to NG911, we need to close the knowledge gaps — and this project has told us where we need to focus.”